The bubbles are flowing, the heels are out, the tunes are singing and the sparkles are shimmering…..its new years…a time of year to celebrate what was and to imagine and hope for whats to come…bringing in the new year.
New Years Resolutions have never been something that I have routinely followed. And to be honest…they have always accompanied with them a sense of uncertainty, pressure and exepctation. I mean, what really are these new years resolutions about…a time to set yourself a year long goal, that you have to hold yourself accountable too, regardless of what unexpected life events present themselves to you??
I mean isn’t it a little tokenistic???!???
When I originally wrote this piece, last year, I asked my partner if he has ever set a New Years Resolution and he reminded me that we actually set one for this year….our goal was to better our lives by getting through our much desired home renos. As we reminisced about this, we both gave out a half hearted, tired, delirious, funny laugh…because in terms of goals…we failed (insert image of my partner in life and love giving the big thumbs down). To be fare, we were probably aiming a little high considering we at the time had a nine year old (now eleven), a sixteen month old (now three) and a bub due in feb (now two in feb). Instead of reaching our new years resolution..we had our toughest year yet. Adjusting to life with another new bub, job instability, financial pressure….you name it. Don’t get us wrong, when we reflect back on our year, we do so in awe and wonder, firstly at how we survived but mostly at our beautiful babes and how big our hearts have grown to fit them all in.
When I was researching for this piece..weblinks such as ’50 new years resolution ideas and how to achieve them’ ‘top 10 healthiest new years resolutions’ ‘epic ways to screw your new years resolutions’ popped up….within these weblinks….well meaning authors make suggestions for your new years resolutions….these range from ‘get into shape’ ‘meet new people’ ‘stop procrastinating’ become more confident’ ‘earn more money’…..Ummmm yes please!!
One website defined New Years Resolutions as ‘the perfect opportunity for all those who have failed to start making the changes that they said they would make’…I mean…come on…I can almost imagine an overly authoritarian personality type, you know the typical representation of a strict rule abiding school principal, standing in front of an assembly of innocent, bewildered students… hands on their hips, glasses on their noses, and saying these exact words….and yet a new years resolution is meant to be something that we hold ourselves accountable for.
On the more light hearted side of things…another more light website described new years resolutions as ‘similar to a baby, fun to make but hard to maintain’ (insert giggle here).
The New Year year is without a doubt a time where many, including myself, find themselves reflecting on the year/s that has passed by, whilst looking forward to the year that is ahead. The inner nerd in me has ALWAYS loved the freshness that the new year brings. Freshly contacted school books, clean crisp diaries, new schedules and routines, new projects, new people, a new chance….the smell of sweet sweet summer in the air…it does have a sense of rest and refresh about it.
So if we do choose to follow this well aged tradition of picking a ‘new years resolution’, how do we go about this in a way that’s going to set us up to feel accomplished, hopeful and well, rather than ridden with self blame and guilt about not achieving what we set out to achieve despite the fact that the stats say that more than half of those who set themselves a resolution are off course six months in.
All in all, A New Years Resolution is a tradition in which we are meant to make a promise, to ourselves to do an act of self improvement…..but, who said that new years resolutions have to be just about improvement of our self or our life…in a way that seems to imply rectification of a fault.
Another way, maybe a more helpful way to look at it, is through a self compassionate lense, which gives you permission to be kind to yourself. Almost like granting yourself a year long permission slip to take care of you, whether that means saying no to a new year resolution, or setting one that feels achievable and realistic.
When goals are specific rather than broad and general, measureable rather than obscure, agreed upon and supported by those around you, realistic given your current circumstances and timely in the sense that you will likely be able to achieve the goals in a given time…. your chance of following through and achieving the goal are much higher.
Or to form a resolution that is values based….working towards something that brings you a sense of fulfilment. Could it be..spending more quality time with those you love, reading more about something that inspires you, planning and researching your next travel adventure; big or small…
Or could it be that a resolution that will unintentionally fill us with those wonderful altruistic feelings like gratitude is a resolution with a shifted focus, a focus towards those around us….our partners, our kiddies, our mama village. Bettering the lives of others builds a sense of connectedness, gratitude, optimism, purpose and fulfillment. All states of mind that lead to higher levels of well being….and wouldn’t that be the bees knees of new years resolutions….to feel well, ‘happier’.
So, in keeping with what has been written here..I wish those of you making new years resolutions a sense of fulfillment in achieving what you set out to achieve and those of you who aren’t, I wish you the same sense of fulfillment in the experiences that this year brings, and what you bring to this year.
Wishing you all 2018 that is filled with love, resilience and hope.